Alien Spidy Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Alien Spidy Box Art
System: PS3, Xbox 360*, PC
Dev: Enigma Software
Pub: Kalypso Media Digital
Release: March 20, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Comedic Mischief

So I figured I’d just take the game at face value. No, the platforming wasn’t perfect, with an absolutely infuriating web-aiming mechanic, but that was okay. I would take it at my leisure, and not worry about how poorly I performed in a given level. I made it through the sixteen levels of the first world and then tried to proceed onward.

I was locked to the first world.

Alien Spidy Screenshot

Further inspection revealed the truth: A certain number of stars was necessary to progress. How were stars awarded? It was based on point total in a given level. Remember what I said about the checkpoints making things more leisurely? They’re actually your worse boon. Every time you return to a checkpoint, you lose all points collected since, less an extra 2,000. This results in a difficult section, or one in which you continually score poorly, setting you back tens of thousands of points. The point requirements for stars vary wildly by level, which is another problem, since it skews the game’s difficulty curve, but it holds mostly true that in order to do appreciably in any level, you must more or less make a straight, flawless shot from beginning to end, unmolested by the level’s dangers. While doing this, you must also collected almost all of the point orbs, and do so with enough rapidity to get the massive bonuses you receive for five and ten orb chains.

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This leads to a lot of restarting. Again, that would be fine, except that restarting a level in Alien Spidy isn’t immediate. The “suicide” button only sends you back to the last checkpoint (less your 2,000 point teleportation fee). To restart a level, you have to pause, pick the “restart level option,” after which you’re booted to the loading screen before finally making it back to the start of the level, where it reminds you how many points you need to get the next star rating. Star ratings are out of five, but you’ll only start a level knowing how many you need for a two. Get a rating, and it’ll reveal the point value necessary for the next rank up. It’s a pointlessly obfuscated system.

All of this sucks the fun out of a potentially quirky and charming platformer. Alien Spidy is so close to being an enjoyable, active puzzle experience, but it lacks the fluidity, both in gameplay and in progression, that would allow it to be a truly memorable and engaging experience.

By
Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
Date: March 28, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Definitely the best part of the game. “Charming,” “endearing,” and “quirky” all describe the aesthetic well, and the 3D-as-2D style just feels good. The camera sometimes lags behind where it needs to be on certain jumps, though.
1.5
Control
Floaty and imprecise, these represent by far my biggest issue with the game.
2.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Nothing really stood out, whether for good or for bad. I did hear that teleportation sound far too many times, though.
2.0
Play Value
The biggest thing that will keep you playing is the star system that locks each of the zones behind an arbitrary number of stars in the preceding one. This isn’t like Mario 64 with its puzzle stars, though. Here, you know exactly what you must do, but are fighting against the controls to get it done.
2.3
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Earn High Scores: Scores are calculated by time spent playing each level, the number of respawns, and the number of orbs collected. To earn high scores, players should beat the level as fast as possible, minimize the number of respawns, and collect as many orbs as possible.
  • Simple Training: Learn the ropes in five training levels.
  • Non-Linear Level Structure: After the five Training levels, each stage enables players to choose the level they want in the order they want it in.


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